Walnut Meringue Crescents / Orasnice
Irresistibly sweet, nutty, and crunchy Walnut Meringue Crescents / Orasnice. Inspired by a long tradition of walnut desserts, these Walnut Meringue Crescents have stood the test of time. They are a big part of the dessert table during festive occasions with the crescent shape being a popular cookie shape. With the holiday season fast approaching, what better time than now to share this old fashioned, yet delicious dessert. Each bite is so crunchy and sweet to bite into. It’s the perfect bite-sized dessert to add to your festive menu. Serve with coffee, tea or a hot cocoa drink and you will love them.
About these crescents
The Balkans are undeniably the place where you will always find some sort of nut-related dessert. From cakes, strudels, pastries to small, bite sized cookies. These crescents remind me of the beautiful collection of sweets found on the dessert table at so many special and festive occasions. From church events to Christmas, Easter and even New Years, these crescents were always a part of the dessert recipe repertoire. I loved dipping one into a hot drink before each bite, it was so heavenly!
I suppose the recipe has been passed down generationally as it is made with the same ingredients. Some recipes add ground biscuits which can be a fun twist on the recipe. Apart from that, deviating from this recipe would just not give the same result. This recipe is based on the traditional method, made with egg whites, granulated sugar, lemon juice, lots of walnuts and shaped into small crescents. You end up with cookie crescents that are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside with a beautiful nutty flavour.
Not your usual cookie bake
I am not sure that I have come across other cookie recipes that are made with a meringue base. Have you? It may seem a tad intimidating working with a meringue as egg whites are such a fussy ingredient, but the rules are not overly strict with this recipe as they are when making macarons. So, no need to worry about things going terribly wrong. These bite sized cookies are made with a delicious, whipped meringue that is then combined with ground walnuts, tossed in finely chopped walnuts and then baked, or dried in the oven. The result – a cookie that is nutty on the outside, chewy on the inside, melting in your mouth.
Making the cookies
Begin by pre-heating the oven to 200°C and line 2 baking trays with baking/parchment paper. This recipe will yield 30 – 40 cookies, so 2 trays are essential.
In a clean bowl beat 3 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Beat the eggs until stiff peaks form and add one tablespoon of lemon juice towards the end. The acid in the lemon juice improves the structure of the meringue, so don’t skip this step. Next, add 300g ground walnuts and fold into the egg whites using a spatula or wooden spoon. Once the walnuts are folded, it is time to shape the cookies.
In a separate bowl, place the remaining 300g finely chopped walnuts. Using a teaspoon, take a small portion of the egg white and walnut mixture, pop it into the dish with finely chopped walnuts. Gently, roll into the chopped walnuts and form into a thin cylinder shape, bend it to get the shape of a crescent, and place on the baking/parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat this process until you shape all the crescents.
Place the two trays in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 125°C. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The cookies should be crisp on the outside, remaining soft inside. Once baked, leave the crescents to cool for several minutes before transferring them to the wire rack. Serve with a warm drink or with drizzled melted chocolate.
When making the meringue, the bowl should be thoroughly cleaned and dried. No moisture should remain in the bowl.
No egg yolk should fall into the egg whites. The eggs must be separated well.
Whip the meringue with either a stand mixer or a hand mixer. Begin by mixing on low speed and gradually increasing the speed after the first 1 – 2 minutes.
When shaping the crescents, it is useful to use two teaspoons. Scoop batter with one teaspoon and use the second teaspoon to place the mixture into the bowl with finely chopped walnuts.
Your first two cookies may be a practice run. The mixture may seem overly soft to work with. But don’t be scared to be slightly firm with your hands when shaping the crescents.
Looking for more?
If you need a little more inspiration, check out the recipes below:
These Walnut Meringue Crescents / Orasnice will surprise you with their simplicity, taste, and texture. The crescents are crunchy, light, cute, and full of flavor. If you make them, I hope you enjoy them. Leave a comment below or if you have a moment, please leave this recipe a rating. I would love to hear what you think, and if you make them, tag me over on Instagram.
|3 egg whites|
|300g granulated sugar|
|1tbsp lemon juice|
|300g ground walnuts|
|300g finely chopped walnuts|